Article 27 — Office-bearers and the government

The office-bearers shall impress upon the congregation its obligation to be obedient and show respect to the government, because God has instituted it. They must set a good example in this regard and by means of proper communication invoke the government to protect the ministry of the church.


This article can be divided into two sections:
1. on the attitude of the congregation towards the government, and the duty of the office-bearers in this respect;
2. on the duties of the office-bearers themselves, and in reverse (Colossians 4: 16).

Re. 1:
This is another article in our Church Order that is clearly of a confessional character. It emphasizes that what we confess in Article 36 of the Belgic Confession of Faith will have its consequences on our church life, that

because of the depravity of mankind, our gracious God has ordained kings, princes, and civil officers.

The wording of this article of our Church Order reminds us of Romans 13: 1, on which our Confession is based:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

The office-bearers must ensure that an appropriate Christian attitude is demonstrated by the congregation.
The consistory as a body is not mentioned in this article. This may emphasize that every office-bearer has an individual task here.

Re. 2:
The second part explains the duties of the office-bearers themselves.
These are twofold:
1. They themselves must be a good example of obedience and respect for the government.
2. They must respectfully remind the government of its duty to continually protect the ministry of the church.
This again is in accordance with Article 36 of our Confession, where it says:

Their task of restraining and sustaining is not limited to the public order but includes this protection of the Church and its ministry.

Our Synod Kelmscott 1983 was of the opinion that deputies for correspondence with the government need no longer be appointed.

Each state is sovereign — The local church is in a better position to correspond with the state government. If there is a need to correspond


with the Federal Government, the opinion is that the approach should be made through the local member of Federal Parliament who can take it up on behalf of the local church (Acts Article 113).

Rongen, G. van (2005)

Kerkorde FRCA (2003) 27